On Gabonese national television, a dozen mutinous troops announced the revocation of recent election results and the dissolution of “all the institutions of the republic.”
Wednesday’s statement comes after President Ali Bongo Ondimba, 64, was re-elected for a third term in what the opposition called a ‘fraud staged’ by the ruling party.
The military claim to have the president under house arrest in what is thought to be the presidential residence.
He is the son of former President Omar Bongo, who served from 1967 until his death in 2009. Since then, the younger Bongo has ruled.
Since the military takeover, there have been scenes of joy in Gabonese capital Libreville.
Russia is ‘concerned’ about Gabon’s predicament.
Russia has expressed worry over the situation in Gabon.
“Moscow has received reports of a sharp deterioration in the internal situation in the friendly African country with concern.” We continue to closely monitor the situation and hope for a quick resolution,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said the situation was being constantly monitored.
Russia is aiming to strengthen diplomatic and trade ties with Africa, and President Vladimir Putin held a gathering of African leaders last month.
‘The Bongo era is done.’
Political analyst Adama Gaye told Al Jazeera from Dusseldorf, Germany, that the unfolding coup in Gabon was not unexpected.
“The Bongo era has come to an end.” Ali Bongo was no longer popular among Gabonese citizens. “He was rejected by the opposition, which was very strong this time,” Gaye added.
“There was also squabbling between Ali Bongo and France, to the point where a speaker on national television two days ago said there was a coup attempt masterminded by Emmanuel Macron and the opposition,” he added.
“He [Bongo] was attempting to set the stage for him to crack down on the opposition and fabricate another victory for himself in another rigged election.” But this time, the military realized that this was too far-fetched and that they have to act, which they did,” Gaye continued.
France believes the Gabonese election results should be accepted.
According to France’s government spokesman, Olivier Veran, Paris opposes the coup in Gabon and wants Gabon’s election results to be followed.
Earlier, France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Paris was paying “close attention” to events in Gabon.
On Monday, President Emmanuel Macron condemned what he called a “epidemic” of coups in French-speaking Africa in recent years, ranging from Mali and Burkina Faso to Guinea and, most recently, Niger.
According to the French defense ministry website, Paris retains a military presence in many of its former colonial territories, including Gabon, where it has 370 soldiers permanently deployed, some in the capital Libreville.